Jail-Based Data-to-Care to Improve Continuity of HIV Care: Perspectives and Experiences from Previously Incarcerated Individuals

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2021 Sep;37(9):687-693. doi: 10.1089/AID.2020.0296. Epub 2021 Apr 30.


Incarceration can disrupt retention in HIV care and viral suppression, yet it can also present an opportunity to reengage people living with HIV (PLWH) in care. Data-to-care (D2C) is a promising new public health strategy that uses HIV surveillance data to improve continuity of care for PLWH. The goal of this study was to examine perspectives on and experiences with D2C among PLWH who had recently been incarcerated in jail. Semistructured, qualitative interviews were conducted with 24 PLWH in community and prison settings about (1) knowledge of and experiences with D2C and (2) attitudes about implementing D2C in the jail setting. Participants who had been contacted for D2C described their interactions with state public health workers favorably, although almost half were not aware that the state performs HIV surveillance and D2C. While most participants indicated they would welcome assistance from the state for reengaging in care, they also framed retention in care as an individual responsibility. Most participants supported the idea of jail-based D2C. A vocal minority expressed adamant opposition, citing concerns about the violation of privacy and the threat of violence in the jail setting. Findings from this study suggest that D2C interventions in jails could be beneficial to reengaging PLWH in care, and acceptable to PLWH if done in a way that is sensitive to the needs and concerns of incarcerated individuals. If implemented, jail-based D2C programs must be designed with care to preserve privacy, confidentiality, and the autonomy of incarcerated individuals.

Keywords: HIV surveillance; data-to-care; incarceration; linkage and retention in care; qualitative research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • HIV Infections* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Jails
  • Prisoners*
  • Prisons
  • Public Health